WDFW Scrap Helicoter for Traps

This is the latest from the Washington state Department of Fish and Wildlife: 


Helicopter flights occurred on Saturday, August 23 through Tuesday morning, August 26.  As we noted in Monday’s news release, one female wolf has been removed.  Helicopter activity provided hazing which may have kept wolves from the flock, and we have had only one sheep injured by a wolf attack, found on Sunday morning (and was later found dead this week, and it is being investigated).  As indicated before, on the Saturday morning flight (and the subsequent ground investigation), five sheep were found dead and three were injured.

We did not fly on Tuesday evening and do not plan to fly today.  We have established a trapline and have provided instructions to euthanize up to three more wolves caught.  We also have ongoing authorization for our staff and the rancher to kill up to two wolves observed in the vicinity of the flock.  We will continue to assess these efforts each day, and the directive is to remove up to four wolves from the Huckleberry pack. 

Nonlethal measures continue to be in place, with the rancher, a range rider, and up to four department staff, and four guard dogs providing an on-going presence.

We continue to work with the producer to try to find an alternative grazing location.  We’re hoping that will occur soon, and the producer understands our desire that for this particular situation, we’re hoping to eliminate the killing of his sheep by wolves by moving the sheep to their winter range.  He received a communication yesterday saying that he should be able to move the sheep soon. 

We’ve received a lot of inquiries about why moving sheep hasn’t happened sooner.  A couple items I hope you’ll keep in mind.  First, with the Carlton Complex Fire in Okanogan County and other fires across the state, there has been a tremendous demand for alternate pasture for displaced livestock operations.  We’re offering whatever assistance we can to help the operator with the various logistics. 

Second, I think it is important to remember that neither the Wolf Conservation and Management Plan nor our preventative measures checklist suggest that moving livestock off of an allotment is a requirement to address wolf-livestock conflicts.  With the operator moving his sheep to winter range anyway, we’re hoping to work with him to expedite that move.  But in the long run, and in other conflict situations that we will face, it is not likely to be feasible for a rancher to move livestock out of the vicinity of problem wolves.  Maintaining working lands and the livestock industry is important both from the perspective of social tolerance of wolf recovery, and the overall maintenance of viable local economies and support for working lands (and the wildlife conservation benefits of those lands continuing in that status). 

Finally, we have approached the rancher about compensation for sheep injured and killed by wolves and will likely continue that dialogue with him at a later date, once some of the immediate issues are resolved.

copyrighted wolf argument settled

6 thoughts on “WDFW Scrap Helicoter for Traps

  1. If the rancher is being compensated for the loss of sheep, who is compensating the wolf family for loss of their valuable members. To remove adults from the pack is the equivalent of a family losing their parents.

  2. Nate Pamplin has a lot of questions to answer! Here’s what the public deserves to know about the Huckleberry Pack situation:

    – When did WDFW know about the “Huckleberry Pack”? My source says 2011 or potentially even 2010. (actually this report shows they had a listing for the Huckleberry Pack in the WY survey in 2009: http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/species/mammals/wolf/annualrpt09/Wyoming-Wolf-Recovery-2009-Annual-Report.pdf

    – How many years has the pack denned on the Spokane reservation adjacent to the leased land where Dashiell turned out his sheep?

    – If WDFW knew about the wolves was Dashiell notified as to there presence before turning out the sheep?

    – If Dashiell was informed (and it is highly likely he was since his brother, Don is on the Washing Wolf Advisory Group) then why did he use the allotment anyway?

    – Since Dashiell likely knew wolves were in the area, why did he only take the most minor steps to protect his sheep?

    – Why did Dashiell leave the non-lethal project he was originally participating in?

    – How many days were the sheep untended between when his shepherd quit and when he reported depredation?

    – How many days were non-lethal efforts employed before they got kill orders and put a helicopter in the air?

    – What was the status of the sheep (spread everywhere or mostly bunched) when non-lethal efforts were implemented?

    – Why does WDFW think killing wolves will reduce depredations? (evidence does not suggest this is a solution)

    I think it’s high time Pamplin became a LOT MORE forthcoming about what really happened up on this allotment.

    I want to know WDFW’s actual timeline for this entire incident and I want to know how many tax payer dollars were spent to take care of one man’s untended sheep?

    Finally how much influence does Don Dahiell have on the decisions being made?

    Many things about this including the relationship the Dashiell’s have the the WAG, WDFW and the livestock commission are unsavory and deserve at a minimum full disclosure if not an outright investigation!

  3. owstar, I request that you send these questions to Director Anderson at WFWS, Conservation Northwest, Defenders of Wildlife, and others that have an interest in the killing of the Huckleberry Pack. This has been a covert operation of which the public has very knowledge. Director Anderson does not want to receive the recognition of slaughtering another wolf pack like he did two years ago after decimating the Wedge Pack. I am very disturbed by this scenario and believe that others would be too, if they were aware of the situation.

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